It was some of the best advice I’d ever heard. Sometime around my senior year of college, a religion professor, whom I admired, shared about the day her teen daughter came home with a pink streak in her jet black hair. This was early 80s. Neon green clods of hair color, pierced body parts and tattoos were nowhere as pervasive amongst youth as they are nowadays. Dr. B. said that upon seeing the streak in her daughter’s hair she opened her mouth and then promptly closed it. It wasn’t worth it, she told me. There were bigger battles to fight than this. This she could live with.
Flash forward a quarter of a lifetime and I have a teen daughter named Grace. Only, Grace has autism. And I am the one who initiated the trip to the stylist last week. And the streak is more than one and the color is my daughter’s favorite: purple. We did this last summer, only in a less permanent process with streaks of tomato red. Both times as the stylists took the foil out of Grace’s hair, my heart sunk into the pit of my stomach and I must have looked pale-faced as I asked myself, silently: What. Have. I. Done?
I’m still kinda asking myself that.
We’d aimed for hot pink and I was repeatedly assured that there’s pink in there although I’ve only occasionally seen a glimmer. The purple is dominant. The stylist herself sported a surprisingly tasteful auburn bob with melon and purple streaks. Really. It was beautiful. And, hence my inspiration to kick it up a notch. Silly me. Or not. I tend to fret about such things. My daughter lives in the real world of teen norms. Of hip dressing. And other ways of being teen.
But the only way she has of expressing to me that she also wants to dress hip is the excitement when I get it right. Like here, while having a pedicure. And, you guessed, the color going down starts with a “P”:So, here we come. We’re off to high school soon. Too soon. In fact, today is Freshman Orientation. And, we’re going with purple hair.
I’ve created an Autistic Goth Teen.
I’m not sure if this is a good thing or not. I hope it is.
At the chiropractor’s yesterday, Grace kept saying: “Hot! Hot!” It was a mild summer day. Confused, I finally clarified: “Grace, are you hot?” What the staff, who have known her since infancy, and I deduced is that she was now proclaiming what the folks at the salon had told her: She IS HOT! I kinda hope her peers in high school think so.